February 16, 2021
By Devik Jain and Shreyashi Sanyal
(Reuters) – The Dow hit an all-time high on Tuesday, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq retreated slightly from record levels, as investors bet on more fiscal aid to lift the world’s biggest economy from a coronavirus-driven slump.
Sectors poised to benefit the most from a reopening economy, including energy and financial, gained the most. The banking index jumped 2.6% as the yield on 10-year U.S. Treasuries hit their highest since February last year.
“The reflation trade continues to push equity markets across all industries and multi-caps … and this rally could continue in the near-term,” said Tony Bedikian, head of global markets at Citizens Bank in Boston.
“It has been a bit of parabolic run up here so we may be due for a correction but it is hard to see a catalyst for that at the moment just because there is so much stimulus, both monetary and fiscal and the anticipation of more fiscal measures.”
President Joe Biden will travel to Wisconsin on Tuesday to press his case for a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill in the political battleground state that helped secure his victory in last year’s presidential election.
The S&P value index, which includes bank, energy and industrial sectors, has risen more than 6% in the past two weeks, slightly outperforming the growth index, which is skewed more toward technology.
At 12:03 p.m. EST, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 20.43 points, or 0.06% , to 31,478.83, while the S&P 500 lost 3.39 points, or 0.09 %, to 3,931.44.
The Nasdaq Composite lost 48.93 points, or 0.35%, to 14,046.54, weighed down by technology heavyweights Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp and Tesla Inc.
A sharp drop in new coronavirus infections, progress in vaccinations and a stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings season have also reinforced hopes of a quick business recovery this year.
However, market participants fear a delay in vaccine distributions and new coronavirus variants could lead to a near-term pullback in equities.
The U.S. timeline for vaccinations against the deadly COVID-19 coronavirus will now stretch into late May or early June due to a limited supply of vaccines and the slow rollout of Johnson & Johnson’s shot, said Anthony Fauci, a key member of the White House coronavirus task force.
This week’s earnings reports from Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc, Hyatt Hotels Corp, Marriott International Inc, Norwegian Cruise Lines and TripAdvisor Inc will be closely watched for signs of a pickup in global travel demand.
Shares of cryptocurrency and blockchain-related firms including Silvergate Capital Corp, Riot Blockchain and Marathon Patent Group jumped between 6.7% and 12% as bitcoin briefly surged past $50,000.
Investors will also focus this week on the minutes from the Federal Reserve’s January meeting, where it reaffirmed its pledge to maintain a dovish policy stance.
Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and on the Nasdaq.
The S&P 500 posted 72 new 52-week highs and no new lows while the Nasdaq recorded 564 new highs and 11 new lows.
(Reporting by Devik Jain and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)